Education | Action | Advocacy
Women Helping Women for a Better Future
CFUW Ontario Council News
In this Issue

  • Ontario Council President's Message
  • Reports & articles from the Ontario Council 2021 AGM
  • Human Trafficking Resolution
  • Advocacy - #215children; Islamophobia; Did you know?
  • Climate action corner
  • Ontario Clubs News & Events

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Ontario Council President's Message
President's Message

Hope Springs Eternal!

Along with the gardens blooming, good news abounds daily with the continual increase of the population being vaccinated and businesses slowly opening……signifying brighter, better and healthier times ahead!

Summer has generally been a time for relaxation and enjoying the wonderful Ontario weather and the various landscapes. Though we are waiting for additional guidelines for fully vaccinated people, and travel in general, let us take the time for a deep breather….even if it is in our own backyards!  We have lived in a lockdown for nearly a year and coped courageously with altered circumstances. Now rest!

Rest and relaxation revives us—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let us charge our batteries so to speak, so we can be ready with renewed enthusiasm and energy to continue to support women for a better future.

Be safe. Be healthy.

Sandra Thomson, President, CFUW Ontario Council President

CFUW Ontario Council
Annual General Meeting
LEAD 2021
Step into your Power

From Sheila Marner, CFUW Orillia, Local Arrangements Committee

CFUW Orillia was the host club for the LEAD 2021 AGM held on May 14th and 15th.
We began planning a live event well before the pandemic and switched gears in the fall to move to a virtual event. The Keynote Speaker and Reception were the focus of the Friday night Zoom call and the Business Meeting was managed by OC directly through a separate secure voting platform on Saturday. The LAC was only responsible for Friday but coordinated all messaging and communications with the OC to give the weekend sessions a unified theme.

Over 240 people registered for the Friday Reception, with attendance peaking at 190. Feedback was positive on all aspects of the program, entitled Women’s Leadership in the Economic Recovery. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Wendy Cukier, gave us some insight into the ways we can take an active approach, positively influencing the economic recovery and ensuring strong voices to impact change for women as we emerge from the pandemic. These ideas were discussed in breakout rooms and many great ideas were generated.

We utilized the features of Zoom to allow for three interactive breakout session, giving everyone a chance to connect with old friends, meet new ones, exchange ideas and provide feedback to Ontario Council.

Even though many of us miss the social connections a face to face AGM allows us, a virtual meeting has the ability to include a larger cohort of members and is very cost effective. Our members are now proficient or at least familiar with Zoom and this event allowed the LAC to develop some additional expertise in Zoom features that have already proven useful for the Orillia Club.

From OC President Sandy Thomson:

We all ‘stepped into our power’ at the Ontario Council (OC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) May 14 and 15, 2021! CFUW Orillia, our host for the Friday night reception, very capably and successfully managed and delivered a virtual event which featured Dr. Wendy Cukier on women’s leadership in the economic recovery, anniversary award presentations, interactive thought provoking and social sessions and even door prizes!
With 190 OC ladies in attendance, we heard Wendy speak to related aspects of the economy – from immigration policies and processes, child care, retraining, and our own perceptions, citing the implicit bias test. A memorable quote: “You have to lift as you rise.” The themes were repeated and noted in the interactive breakout rooms. The social sessions were lively, engaging and the ladies were networking! Wonderful to make new connections!

The Saturday morning business meeting ran very smoothly and seamlessly as this was our second year in a virtual setting. We are pleased and proud of CFUW St. Catharines’ efforts in authoring the resolution –Human Trafficking – Awareness, Prevention and Detection – which resoundingly passed.
Our very positive financial reports also passed with flying colours!

Last but certainly not least, was the inaugural presentation of the Advocacy*Awards* Accolades edition by Teri Shaw, Advocacy Chair. Many congratulations to our clubs who celebrated anniversaries and recognition awards for advocacy projects, events, and fundraisers. Again during a time of lockdown, many clubs found creative ways and means of initiating and delivering!

A bylaw amendment was passed to include Membership as a standing committee of Ontario Council. The CFUW Ontario Council Constitution and Bylaws, as approved at the AGM on May 15, 2021 is now available on the OC website. OC now has nine committees – finance, resolutions, governance, advocacy, education, legislation, status of women and human rights, articles and bylaws and now membership. We are looking for additional members for legislation, status of women and human rights, membership and resolutions. Please send in your application; you can download the application here. Consider joining as it is a leadership and skills development opportunity!

For our Annual Report, the special edition of Advocacy*Awards*Accolades, and Wendy’s presentation, please go to: CFUW Ontario Council 2021 AGM | CFUW Ontario Council (

Finally save the dates for next year’s AGM – May 13 and 14, 2022 to be hosted by CFUW Kitchener-Waterloo, who will also be celebrating their 100th anniversary!
Human Trafficking Resolution
The resolution, proposed by CFUW St. Catharines, was adopted at the Ontario Council Annual General Meeting, held May 15, 2021. Watch for an advocacy package and more suggestions for action this fall. Teachers, we’re looking at you. We will want to know about your support, and your suggestions for moving this forward.

Human Trafficking Awareness, Prevention and Detection (2021)
Proposed by CFUW St. Catharines
RESOLVED, that Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Ontario Council urges the Ontario Provincial Government to urgently adopt mandatory instruction in Ontario’s Elementary and Secondary Schools as well as mandatory teacher training to prevent future victimization by educating all students and train all educators to be alert to the luring and coercive control techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators via tools and methods including, but not limited to:
  1. that the Ontario Provincial Government make mandatory additions to the Grade 9 and 10 Health and Physical Education Curriculum how to recognize unhealthy relationships specifically the coercive control and luring techniques used by human traffickers and similar predators, this will complement the Grade 1 to 8 Health and Physical Education Curriculum that includes age-appropriate learning that helps protect students from human trafficking;
  2. that the Ontario Provincial Government require all Ontario educators, both elementary and secondary, complete a mandatory annual anti-human trafficking digital training on awareness, prevention, detection and duty to report followed by comprehension assessment.
Suggested Actions:
  • Educate yourselves, learn more about the issue; invite speakers to one or more of your meetings to raise awareness about the issue among your members. Possible speakers could include local activists or community leaders who have expressed concern about this issue.
  • Meet with elected representatives and share CFUW Ontario Council’s position. Find out what your representatives are doing to address human trafficking in Canada. Lobby your local MPP to express support for this Resolution through letter writing
  • Lobby for your Regional Government to adopt an anti-human trafficking protocol.
  • Stand behind and amplify the voices of the Canadian Indigenous community as we all push for action based on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • Organize meetings with the support of partners at the local level to inform and gather support for the Resolution and to organize joint actions, i.e. events, letter writing campaigns etc.
We have all been horrified by the discovery of the unmarked burial site of 215 children in Kamloops. Is this a turning point for us to recognize the horror of the residential schools, built not to educate but to “take the Indian out of the child”?

In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Volume 4 focused on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, followed up with six separate Calls to Action concerning the missing children. They have as well created the Missing Children Project.

Now we listen, now we care.

The Ontario government will give $10 million over a three-year period to investigate and find residential school burial sites. Find out if you have residential schools close to you. Connect with the communities. An excellent source is Wikipedia, List of Indian residential schools in Canada, which notes years and religious denominations.

Thank you to the clubs who have reached out and expressed their concern. Like many things this year, let us not forget as life moves on. We individually may not have created the situation, but we do have the responsibility to now listen, learn and most important support.

A Map of Ontario residential schools thanks to The Canadian Encyclopedia.
Status of Women & Human Rights Islamophobia
“Hate is crystallized fear, fear’s dividend, fear objectified. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear will be lurking.”Cyril Connolly

The deliberate targeting and murder of Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Yumna Afzaal and Talat Afzaal in London, Ontario places yet another stain on Canada’s carpet of multiculturalism. We need to acknowledge that the fabric of this carpet has become unravelled and can no longer sustain the major flaws in Canada’s character swept under it, to be ignored or hidden.

What have we allowed Canada to become? A great deal of research has been undertaken as to why Islamophobia exists in Canada. Even before 9/11 our governments have tacitly targeted Muslim communities searching for extremists, which has served only to define racially and religiously motivated profiling. Québec’s Bill 21 (the provincial law that bans certain civil servants from wearing religious symbols) follows years of policies coercing the unveiling of Muslim women and institutionalises gendered Islamophobia. White nationalism, purportedly non-existent in Canada until recently, has covertly promoted Muslims as illiberal, anti-modern and anti-democratic1.

A 2016 Forum Poll showed that 41 per cent of Canadian adults expressed some level of bias against identifiable racial groups, with more than 1 in 4 Canadians holding negative views specifically regarding Muslims (so this is not a right winged white supremacy conspiracy theorist plot)2. For too many years there have been calls for Canada to take action against Islamophobia but nothing concrete has been done.
Government policies alone are not the answer. Canada’s erroneous claim of being a country safe for marginalised groups must also be dealt with through our personal actions. To overcome fear we must understand. To understand we must admit that we need to educate ourselves and then educate others. Teach the young (where fears are cemented) that there is nothing to fear from diversity, that those who appear differently, speak differently, worship differently, live differently, love differently are to be embraced. Muslims and others bring a wealth to this country that the ‘white Canadian’ cannot live without. Promote mutual respect. Take a stand against all forms of discrimination. Take a stand against Islamophobia.

Sandra Shaw, Chair, Committee for the Status of Women and Human Rights
Advocacy - Did You Know?C
Summer Celebrations – Did you know …
June is an exciting and busy month, getting ready for summer with the summer solstice, this year getting our COVID vaccine shots and, for us in Ontario, celebrating Pride Month and National Indigenous History MonthCanada has celebrated by passing Bill C-15 which harmonizes Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
Did you know …
June 21st        that today is National Indigenous Peoples Day
July 30            World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a day in which we recognize the horrors of trafficking, for both sex and forced labour. #EndHumanTrafficking #WorldDayAgainstTraffickinginPersons Check out organizations like Courage For Freedom #CourageforFreedom and their #ProjectMapleLeaf
Aug 1st            Emancipation Day - Canada’s Juneteenth - is the celebration of the Slavery Abolition Act of the British Parliament which took effect on Aug 1, 1834.
Owen Sound claims to hold the oldest consecutive celebration of Emancipation Day, having held a picnic and now a festival every year since 1862. A Black History Cairn in the city’s Harrison Park includes broken shackles as a symbol of liberation from oppression and tyranny.
Aug. 9th          International Day of the World’s Indigenous People – the United Nations celebration of indigenous peoples. Canada’s celebrations and acknowledgements are mainly in June (Indigenous History Month, June 21-National Indigenous People’s Day) and September 30- Orange Shirt Day) and October 4-MMIWG National Day of Remembrance
Sept. 30th                 Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In June 2021, a bill creating a statutory holiday to commemorate the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada received royal assent after passing unanimously in the Senate. Orange Shirt Day commemorates a piece of clothing six-year-old Phyllis Webstad had taken from her on her first day at residential school in 1973.
Oct. 4th          Sisters in Spirit Day: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) National Day of Remembrance. This is the day that we honour and remember the lives of the indigenous women lost to violence.
October          Women’s History Month, when we celebrate what women have achieved. This month was chosen because of the importance of October 18th, Persons Day, when the Privy Council of Great Britain ruled that Section 24 of the BNA Act – “qualified Persons to the Senate; … every Person so summoned shall become and be a Member of the Senate and a Senator” should apply equally to women, as well as men.
Climate Action CornerC
Municipal leadership is a key factor in mitigation of and adaptation to climate change in Ontario. Each municipality is at a different stage. Oxford County is enacting an excellent example of a community sustainability plan which recognizes the intrinsic relationships between a vibrant economy, community wellbeing and environmental stewardship. For example, they are on their way to their goal of zero waste by 2025; and over 600 acres of wetlands rehabilitation and forestry management is in progress.

Club News & Events
The CFUW Barrie and District Advocacy Committee has compiled a list of activities for members during the month of June which is Indigenous Peoples Month, and for June 21st, which is National Indigenous Peoples Day.

As CFUW members we know that education is a great first step in awareness and a guidepost towards achieving meaningful solutions to an issue or a situation. We encourage everyone to use the resources listed here to better familiarize ourselves with Canada's Indigenous history.

Some of the suggestions are educational, some are entertaining, and for many, a step towards understanding the past. Whatever you choose to do, we are confident that CFUW members will enjoy the experience!
CFUW Belleville Welcome to the 2021 Town & Country Garden Tour!

On Saturday July 3rd, 2021, the self-guided Garden Tour will be held completely outdoors, so you can enjoy your tour of eight beautiful gardens in a safe and relaxing environment. Four gardens are in Belleville and four are located across the Bay in Prince Edward County. The current pandemic protocols will be respected, and attendees will receive a Tip Sheet with up to date information on the day of the tour, providing all of the last minute information and helpful hints to make your day a breeze. Tickets are $30.  
Pick up your Snack Pack and enter your ballot for the Door Prizes at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church Portico, 516 Victoria Ave. in Belleville. For all of the details including descriptions of the gardens, please visit the CFUW Belleville website.
CFUW Northumberland's 30th Anniversary Scholarship Fundraiser!

CFUW Northumberland will be welcoming Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, first neurologist in space and renowned environmentalist and photographer, to address us via Zoom on September 8, 2021 @ 12:45 p.m. Dr. Bondar's topic will be Open to the Universe ~ Changing Perspective on a Moving Planet. Tickets are $65 and are available through the CFUW Northumberland website.
CFUW Orillia's virtual homes tour was a great success! Switching from their usual in-person Homes Tour to a Virtual Tour this year was a leap of faith for the members of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Orillia. The Homes for Scholarships tour is a major fundraiser for the organization which awards scholarships to Orillia and area young women who are pursuing post-secondary education. 

That leap of faith turned out to exceed all expectations set out by the organizing committee. 543 people from across Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia registered to attend the virtual tour that was held on June 6th! $25,600 was raised during this year's event. Congratulations CFUW Orillia! 
CFUW Oshawa & District have created a video to celebrate their Club's 75th anniversary. It's a wonderful testimony to the Club's history and highlights how world and country events have shaped the Club's activities and events. You can watch the 75th Anniversary video at
Women Helping Women
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Have a safe and happy summer!